Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Battle Scars

Weekends we biked. Within three weeks we had done Jamestown, Yorktown, York River and Colonial Williamsburg all on two wheels. You should take a moment to feel for the poor tourists who were trying to really live the pre-revolutionary world of Virginia (visions of periwigs and authentic horse poop are free, food and drink extra) with a family of padded-shorts clad cyclists whizzing past at full speed: 'quick, look kids! A colonial town drunk!'

Mountain biking had become a passion during the previous summer in Alaska. Kirk already had a gorgeous Trek 9000 - midnight blue and stunning; and I had, with some of the first money I earned for my own self with my own company, bought a violent green but entirely lovable Trek 7000. Eagle River has a network of wonderful paved paths snaking through the neighborhood, which sufficed for the first two days. But a mountain bike has to be taken off road and thrown down gullies and things to be really appreciated. I was, admittedly, timid at first but then learned the quite obvious rule of biking - look where you want to go, not where you don't. Once I figured that out the bike lost its habit of steering into trees and over steep drops and things and life was very, very good.

Unfortunately I went directly from 'oh dear, maybe I shouldn't take on that hill' to 'hey! If I think I can do it I can!' leaving behind all sorts of little things like logic and common sense. Which is why when we were biking the Yorktown battlefield tour one day (it's just road bike stuff, but several miles of it, nice and green and great for kids. Plus hardly anyone bothers to drive the whole circuit so you mostly have the place to yourself) I decided to put on my biking gloves while riding directly behind Child 1.... while I held a set of hex-keys in one hand... so I was entirely incapable of using the brakes. Naturally Child 1 swerved right in front of me and... well I'm not entirely sure what happened then, but I do know that evenutally I was sitting against a tree looking at a fairly large hole in one leg and anxiously asking about my bike! Are you sure it's okay!?

Kirk looked at me.

'The bike's fine. You I think we're taking to the hospital.'

'Oh. But I don't want to have to explain how I did this. '


'Because it might sound stupid!'

'Not at all.' He paused for a moment, 'We'll just say you were wounded at Yorktown.'

Sounds quite impressive when you put it like that! You want to see my scar?

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